From the heroes of the lyricist Metastasio, played by castrati, to the countless transvestite roles that abound in the Romantic repertoire, it is fair to say that in opera, gender is a fluid notion. At the height of the 18th century, no one was surprised that kings and gods were embodied by voices with evanescent colourations, or that, later, the fiery Cherubino of The Marriage of Figaro was expressed through the shimmering colors of a mezzo-soprano’s timbre.
Their Master’s Voice is a concept born of a shared desire of two artists who esteem each other: John Malkovich, the unforgettable Valmont in Stephen Frears’ Dangerous Liaisons, and Cecilia Bartoli, an artist always in search of reinvention. In this show, we see the composer and master musician of the greatest voices of his time, Nicola Porpora, face his prestigious pupils, Farinelli and Caffarelli. At once a theatrical narrative and a musical feast, with the great castrato arias of the Baroque era, this “duel of genres” tells us more about the composer-pedagogue and his vital contribution to the glory of those singers with angel voices.
Austrian film and stage director Michael Sturminger conceived this tailor-made show, which will be presented, after its Monte-Carlo performance, as part of the Barocchissimo festival at the Vienna State Opera.
© Opéra de Monte-Carlo